Dear Reader, are you perhaps
…looking to freshen up the scenario for your design history reenactment group?
… a sun-loving DIYer caught in-doors, seeking to evade a persistent winter?
… a creative-type in a gestational holding pattern while awaiting a Spring delivery?
If you are then read on, because, oh boy, do we have the project for you.
While his chair is a widely known cultural icon, the depth of Gerrit Rietveld’s output was so great and his application of creative vision so broad that a cursory exploration of his work readily yields wonderful surprises even for designers. The rewards are multiplied for those of us who have an interest in fabrication—the elemental nature of his workshop’s output is fairly easy to conceptually deconstruct and can be replicated, if not in exact proportions or finish, at least in technique with some simple tools.
Any gratuitous mental exertion is unnecessary if you are lucky enough to come upon a copy of Peter Drijver and Johannes Niemeijer’s How to Construct Rietveld Furniture. It documents how to build dozens of his pieces often with original construction drawings, illustrations and notes from the workshop.
Of these products, it is the Beach Buggy that perfectly brings the aesthetic, the product ethos and the lifestyle of Rietveld together. It resonates particularly on that last note, fitting nicely with every designer’s aspiration to apply design to all aspects of their existence. Additionally, the form, patterns and colors of the broader movement essentially set the aesthetic of the children’s product genre for generations. The buggy takes on a level of importance as a formative artifact in which utility and aesthetic first meet.
So if you do perhaps fall into one of our aforementioned hyper-specific categories and are as inspired as we are by this object, then we encourage you to set out upon a recreation of your own. Start now, for it isn’t a particularly simple piece and one that you might want to ensure some integrity in for a little person’s use. We'll check back in the summer when you should be just about ready to hit the sand.
P.S. If you aren’t up for woodworking, there is a paper model to construct!